Southgate Charter changed; judicial finalists determined

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — Nearly 90 percent of participating voters approved the city’s request to adjust the charter and change city council meeting start times from 8 to 7 p.m. during yesterday’s primary election.

The charter amendment joined a primary contest between three candidates seeking the expiring judicial seat held by 28th District Court Judge James Kandrevas. The incumbent jurist topped the ballot against two challengers with 1,661 votes (39 percent), and will face attorney and City Councilman John Graziani (1,315 votes, 30 percent).

Also vying for the seat was City Councilman Bill Colovos, who garnered 866 votes (20 percent).

Tuesday’s primary election attracted 4,242 — 19 percent — of the city’s 21,905 registered voters.

Few objections were heard to the city’s charter adjustment and earlier meeting start time, with 3,329 yes votes against just 392 opposing ballots. The charter amendment was originally to be part of a package that included changes to the way legal notices — including meeting advisories — are published.

A proposed amendment to allow electronic posting was revised by state election officials into two separate ballot questions, which City Administrator Brandon Fournier said would be on the November general election ballot.

Fournier said both amendments were presented as cost-saving measures: earlier meetings would allow city employees to leave earlier, and electronic notifications would minimize current publication costs.

Kandrevas, 66, was one of 16 judges in Michigan who faced primary election competition, and had attracted controversy following a lawsuit filed against him in 2009 by court employees who claimed he’d misused court funds. The legal challenge was settled by the city for $300,000.

Kandrevas has served on the bench for nearly 30 years and, if re-elected, would serve a final term due to age restrictions.

Colovos previously ran for the bench in 2008.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)